How to Select the Right Trucking School near Taftville Connecticut
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a CDL school near Taftville CT. Perhaps it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some analysis and have found that an occupation as a truck driver provides excellent pay and flexible job prospects. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to obtain the appropriate training by enrolling in the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are various variables that you’ll need to consider prior to making your final choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you have to commute from your Taftville home. The cost will also be important, but choosing a school based only on price is not the best way to ensure you’ll obtain the right training. Don’t forget, your goal is to master the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL examinations and become a professional truck driver. So keeping that purpose in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to review a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will ultimately need.
Which Commercial Drivers License Will You Need?
In order to drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Taftville CT, a driver must get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can apply for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the topic of this article is how to choose a truck driver school, we will focus on Class A and Class B licenses. What differentiates each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate together with the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are brief descriptions of the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A CDL is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs. Several of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is required to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of more than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B CDLs might also need endorsements to drive certain kinds of vehicles, such as passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, may drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Research a Trucking School
Once you have determined which CDL you want to pursue, you can start the undertaking of researching the Taftville CT trucking schools that you are considering. As previously mentioned, location and cost will undoubtedly be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole concerns. Other variables, including the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are similarly if not more important. So below are some additional things that you need to research while performing your due diligence before enrolling in, and especially paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Not many truck driving schools in the Taftville CT area are accredited because of the rigorous process and expense to the schools. However, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not required to become certified, but there are a number of advantages. Prospective students recognize that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will receive plenty of driving time. For example, PTDI calls for 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s course is certified (the course, not the school is certified), students know that the training and curriculum will fulfill the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Operation? One clue to help measure the quality of a truck driving school is how long it has been in business. A poorly rated or a fly by night school typically will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Taftville CT schools had to start from their first day of training, so consider it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also find out what the school’s track record is relating to successful licensing and job placement of its graduating students. If a school won’t provide those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should also maintain relationships with regional and national trucking companies. Having a large number of contacts not only affirms an excellent reputation within the profession, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t hurt to check with the Connecticut licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are considering are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools must be licensed in Connecticut and hire instructors that are trained and experienced. We will talk more about the instructors in the next segment. Also, the student to instructor ratio should not be higher than 4 to 1. If it’s any higher, then students will not be receiving the personal instruction they will need. This is particularly true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And be critical of any school that professes it can train you to drive trucks in a comparatively short time period. Training to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally requires time. The majority of Taftville CT schools provide training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as 2 months, depending on the class of license or kind of vehicle.
How Good are the Teachers? As already stated, it’s important that the instructors are trained to teach driving techniques and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Even though several states have minimum driving time criteria to qualify as an instructor, the more successful driving experience a teacher has the better. It’s also important that the instructors stay up to date with industry advancements or any new regulations or changes in existing laws. Assessing instructors may be a little more subjective than other criteria, and perhaps the best method is to check out the school and talk to the instructors face to face. You can also speak with a few of the students going through the training and ask if they are happy with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s ability to train them.
Sufficient Driving Time? Most importantly, a good truck driving school will provide ample driving time to its students. Besides, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the actual time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. While the use of ride-a-longs with other students and simulators are necessary training tools, they are no substitute for actual driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. Although driving time fluctuates among schools, a good benchmark is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will provide no less than 44 hours of driving time. Check with the Taftville CT schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Captive or Independent ? You can obtain discounted or even free training from a number of truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specified carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that provide it are called captives. So instead of maintaining affiliations with numerous trucking lines that they can refer their students to, captives only refer to one company. The tradeoff is receiving less expensive or even free training by surrendering the freedom to initially be a driver wherever you have an opportunity. Clearly contract training has the potential to restrict your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the best way to get affordable training. Just be sure to find out if the Taftville CT schools you are contemplating are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Is there Onsite CDL Testing? There are some states that will permit third party CDL testing onsite of truck driver schools for its students. If onsite testing is available in Connecticut, ask if the schools you are considering are DMV certified to offer it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than competing with graduates of other schools for test times at Connecticut testing facilities. It is also an indicator that the DMV views the authorized schools to be of a higher quality.
Are the Classes Accessible? As formerly noted, truck driving training is only about 1 to 2 months long. With such a short duration, it’s important that the Taftville CT school you enroll in provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. For example, if you’re having a hard time learning a particular driving maneuver, then the teacher should be willing to dedicate more time with you until you have it mastered. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling needs to be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Provided? As soon as you have attained your CDL license after graduating from trucking school, you will be impatient to start your new career. Make sure that the schools you are contemplating have job assistance programs. Find out what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which national and local trucking firms their graduates are placed with for hiring. If a school has a low job placement rate or not many Taftville CT employers recruiting their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Truck driving schools are comparable to colleges and other Taftville CT area technical or vocational schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial aid being offered. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Taftville CT?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Taftville Connecticut area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Taftville is a small village in eastern Connecticut. It is a neighborhood of Norwich but has its own post office (ZIP Code 06380). It was established in 1866 as site for the large Taftville Mill, later Ponemah Mill. The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Taftville and as alternative name Taftville/Ponemah Mill National Register Historic District.
Currently redevelopment of the large mill is being conducted by The O'Neill Group in conjunction with OneKey LLC. The National Park Service will oversee the historic preservation of the structure, to ensure the historic elements are sustained. The 430,000-square-foot (40,000 m2) Ponemah Mill is being converted into luxury apartments and commercial space.
The Ponemah Mills, a cotton textile factory, was built on the Shetucket River where a large dam could be built to provide power. The large mill building (Building No. 1) was purported to be the largest weave-shed under one roof at that time. The original workers were predominantly Irish immigrants, and they were hard hit by the depression of the 1870s that began with the Panic of 1873. Unemployment rose and wages dropped appreciably from 1873 to 1875, causing bitter relations between workers and management in many places.
Trucking Schools Taftville CT
Selecting the appropriate truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new profession as a local or long distance truck driver. The skills that you will learn at school will be those that shape a new career behind the wheel. There are many options available and understanding them is crucial to a new driver’s success. You originally came to our website because of your interest in Trucking Schools. However, you must get the appropriate training in order to drive a large commercial vehicle in a professional and safe fashion. If you are lacking money or financing, you might want to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or in some cases no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can choose an independent trucker school and have the option of driving for the trucking firm of your choice, or one of many affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you get your training, you will in the near future be part of a profession that helps our country move as a professional trucker in Taftville CT.
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